Brian and Lanny Go to Europe
by Nick Brady
When they woke up the next morning it was very quiet. Until late the evening before they were serenaded by the couples who had commandeered their hut. It appeared that the primary supplies for them had been some quantity of spirit lifting beverage. Despite that, sleep had been restful for the three hikers. Brian and Roth lit the little stove and cooked their Muesli with raisins and powdered milk for breakfast, while Lanny took down their tent. With some of the flat bread and cold spring water, they ate their fill.
"I think we are ready now," Roth declared. When the pot and the plates were washed and put away, they shouldered their packs and started out.
"It's a little chilly now, but it looks like we'll have a nice day," Brian predicted.
"I feel good today," Lanny told him. "I was tired last night but today I feel great. I think I'm getting my legs in shape."
"It looks like we'll have a nice day today," Brian predicted. "I'm ready to get started."
"Yes. It is nice now, but the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable," Roth warned them.
They put on their packs and made their way down the trail. Once past >Philippsreut, they soon came to the Kricklsäge and Leopoldsreut. Roth told them a little history about this place. "In the early 1600's, this was a nice village but is now abandoned. But still here are a few buildings. There is St. Nepomuk Chapel and the forester's house. At one time a school was here. It was the highest school in Germany. We can see them soon."
The old buildings still looked in good condition and it was very peaceful there. Before long, they came to the Haidel with a high lookout tower. They climbed to the top and enjoyed a wonderful panorama. Off in the distance they could see the snow- capped Alps. To the boys from Oklahoma, it was an amazing sight.
They walked on, passing several small well-kept little chapels. They were so small that they looked like only a handful of people could fit inside. They were locked to keep them from going in. Roth told them that they had been built in memory of some saint, or to honor someone who had passed away long ago. "I don't know the history of all these places," he apologized. "Maybe there is something on the internet if you are interested."
From there, the trail went first over a rocky area. "Do you suppose the devil dropped another car load of stones here?" Lanny wondered. "This makes me appreciate my wanderstuck."
They entered an area that was heavily forested with tall pine trees. "I have been down in the southeastern part of Oklahoma around Broken Bow. There are pine forests there, but these are much bigger." Brian said. "It smells like pine. I love this."
"Yes. Here is very nice," Roth agreed. "I think that in a little time we should make our lunch."
After another hour they came to a place where the trail leveled out and there was a spring that came across the trail and down into the woods. "Yes. Here is the place for a rest," Roth told them. I am hungry. Let's eat something."
They dropped their packs and pulled out some cheese and dried sausage. With the flatbread and some of the cold spring water, they made a little picnic.
"It's a lot warmer today," Brian noticed. "The air is still and the sun feels really nice. I think I'll put my hoodie back in my pack."
"Do you know that there is a small lake just down from here? If you follow this little spring you will find it," Roth said. "I want to sleep for a little while. You should go to see the lake. I think you will like it. There is no one near us and you might find a good place to sit and take some time for yourselves, eh?"
"That sounds kind of nice," Brian agreed. "Are you up for a side trip Lanny?"
"Sure. I'm doing pretty good today," Lanny agreed. "I think I'm getting my legs in better shape. If Roth says it's worth seeing, that's good enough for me. Can we leave our packs here?"
"Yes, of course," Roth said. "I will keep them safe for you. Go see the lake while I take a nap."
Brian and Lanny left Roth with their packs and began to follow the little creek, carrying only their water bottles. "It's a treat to walk without those heavy packs," Brian said to Lanny. "It makes me feel light on my feet."
Lanny looked up into the forest canopy. "These pines are huge. I wonder how old these trees are?"
"I don't know," Brian replied. "Maybe this is a virgin forest. It's a wonder that some logging outfit hasn't taken these for telephone poles."
After about twenty minutes, Lanny pointed down the hillside "Look there. I think I see the lake."
"I see it too. This is really nice in here. I think I would like to put my feet in some cold water."
The lake was small with tall pines on the far side and a wide grassy area just to the right. They went to the water's edge and sat on some flat stones that gave them a nice place to sit. Brian took off his boots and stockings and lowered his feet into the cool water. "Oh man. That feels nice – the warm sun on my back, and my feet nice and cool."
Lanny sat down next to him and set his boots and socks next to Brian's." This is fantastic. Are we really doing this or is it a dream?"
"If it is, please don't wake me. Roth wasn't kidding. This is heaven," Brian agreed. "I think I would like to wash up a little. What do you say we wade out a little and get cleaner?"
"I don't know. That water is going to be awfully cold."
"Probably. But if I can just wade out a little and wash out my sweaty crotch, I think I will feel better. Are you up for that?"
"You mean get naked and go into the lake?" Lanny hesitated. "What if somebody sees us?"
"Are you kidding? We haven't seen anybody else all day, and the lake is a mile off the trail. This is about as private as it gets," Brian grinned. "Come on. I dare you. The lake is real shallow on this end."
"I don't know."
"OK, I double dog dare you," Brian laughed.
"That's another line from a movie," Lanny smiled. "I guess I can't refuse that."
In a minute there were two piles of clothes next to the boots as two naked boys tested their footing and walked out into the lake, hand in hand to keep their balance. They walked out until the water was up to their knees and stood there looking around.
"Wow! This is beautiful. The water is cold, but it feels pretty good," Lanny admitted.
Brian let go of Lanny's hand and leaned over to splash some of the cold water over his crotch, rubbing it over his penis and testicles, then up under his arm pits. Scooping up a fresh handful of water he leaned over and rubbed it over his face and around his ears.
"Whoa! That's cold. But it feels good," Brian gasped.
Lanny laughed at his friend then mimicked his ablutions, gasping and sputtering from the cold water. "That's enough for me! I'm getting out," He turned to walk back to shore, slipped and plunged under the chilly waters. He regained his footing and walked carefully and breathlessly back to the safety of the flat stones.
It was Brian's turn to laugh, and he walked out to join his friend. "You just couldn't resist skinny dipping, could you?"
Lanny shivered and tried to regain his breath. "God almighty! That water is cold!"
Brian stood over his friend and tried not to laugh too loudly. "Stretch out and let the sun warm you up. You'll live."
"I'm not sure of that," Lanny sputtered. "Give me a minute and I think I might."
Brian sat behind Lanny and wrapped his arms around him. He was cold as ice. As he held him, he could feel Lanny's shivering diminish "Is that better?"
Lanny wrapped his arms around Brian's.
"Yeah, that helps. You feel warm."
"I'm hot for you baby," Brian whispered in his ear.
"I don't think I'm up for anything romantic," Lanny sighed. "My nuts have crawled back up in my body and my pecker is all shrunk up."
Brian ran his hands down in Lanny's crotch and tried to warm his privates with his hands. "I might be able to warm that up for you."
"I don't know, man. I'm all shriveled up. How can you be horny after that cold water?"
"Think about it. Here we are in this little slice of paradise with no one around. The sun is warm and we're both naked. This has to suggest something fun. Hmm?" Brian kissed Lanny in the crook of his neck and rubbed his warm hands over his withered cock. It slowly began to respond.
Lanny turned his head so they could enjoy a kiss. "You are the devil himself."
"Hey. Whatever works. I could get amorous if I can warm you up. Stretch out in the sun here. You are almost dry by now."
Lanny smiled and did as Brian suggested. The warm sun did feel nice, and the flat stone was warm from the sun. This was very pleasant. Brian stretched out beside him and turned to run his hands over Lanny's chest and stomach. It was very nice to cuddle here in the still air.
Assisted by Brian's hand, Lanny finally began to stir. "Umm, that's working," he sighed.
"I have something warm for you," Brian said and leaned over to take Lanny in his mouth. The effect was quite dramatic as Lanny's cock swelled in his mouth.
"Oh yes," Lanny whispered. "I'm beginning to see your point, but we are awfully exposed here."
Brian raised up and looked around. "There is a nice little clearing back there in the woods. How about we take a little walk?"
Lanny was persuaded. They picked up their boots and clothes and walked back into the woods. There was an open space under the tall pine trees. The air was fresh and the sun shone down to illuminate the soft grass. The ground beneath was springy with pine needles. They set down their bundles and stretched out on what felt like a mattress.
"Hey. This is alright," Lanny admitted. "It's private enough. This just might work."
They kissed, and turned to enjoy the sensation of warm skin between them. "You know of course, that this is what Roth had in mind when he sent us down here," Brian whispered. "I think we should go with this."
"I'm beginning to see the light," Lanny grinned.
"You warmer now?" "Yes. I feel just right. Kiss me you fool."
Brian did so, and their erections felt very good as they pressed them together. This went on for several minutes when Brian asked gently, "Is it my turn?"
"Hmm. I think so. But my asshole might be frozen tight. Besides, we have no lube."
"Lube? I don't need no stinking lube." Brian giggled. "Turn over."
Lanny obliged and Brian ran his face up Lanny's crack and began to tongue his hole, licking and sucking and poking his tongue in to warm and loosen his rear passage. Lanny moaned," You may be onto something there. That feels really nice."
"Um-hum," Brian mumbled, and lapped at Lanny's hole with his wet tongue.
Lanny arched his back and purred. "Yeah. I definitely think this will work."
After several minutes of this Brian ran his hands over Lanny's back and suggested, "If you got my dick wet I think we could do this. Spit makes a pretty good lube."
"You think so?" Lanny turned to take Brian's hard cock in his mouth and got it as wet with saliva as he could. "OK now, but go slow, OK? You know how I am about this."
"Don't worry. If it hurts, I'll stop. You know I would never hurt you. Just relax and I think we can do this thing."
Lanny turned back on his hands and knees, arched his back and raised his ass to receive Brian's cock. Brian spit in his hand and wet himself then pressed his dick at Lanny's hole. There was some rubbing, some pushing, and the head popped inside.
Lanny stiffened and Brian asked with concern, "You OK?"
"Yeah. I think so. Just give me a minute. I'm trying to relax. You are kind of big, you know?"
Brian held still while Lanny took several deep breaths. "OK. I think I'm ready. Let me push back on you."
Lanny pushed back as Brian slowly moved his hips from side to side, feeling himself slide in deeper until he was fully inside. "You OK? Let me know if I'm hurting you."
"It kind of hurts in a good way," Lanny whispered. "I got admit that I like this. Go slow and fuck me like you did before. When you go in deep it does something nice."
Brian obliged with long slow strokes, pulling almost all the way out, then pushing in until his pubic hair was scratching on Lanny's butt cheeks – repeating this in and out, until Lanny was moaning with pleasure. "Yes, oh yes. Just like that Brian. Oh shit. God help me, I like this a lot," Lanny sighed.
They lay there on the soft grass with the sun on Brian's back, plugged together to make one animal. Brian lay over Lanny's back with his arms around his waist, his hands on Lanny's erection, kissing the back of his neck and whispering sweet noises into his ears. Lanny chanted softly, "Oh, oh, oh, oh."
"I'm about to cum," Brian warned him. "Can you turn over on your back? I want to see you. I want to see your face and look at your beautiful body. Oh God, Lanny. I love you so much!"
Lanny turned over and pulled up his knees. Brian spit in his hand and re-wet himself then resumed his task. Now he looked down and Lanny's smiling face and ran his hands over his chest, tweaking his nipples and fucking him with a steady gentle movement. "I love you Lanny. I want this to be right for you. Are you OK?"
"Oh hell yes. I'm a lot more than OK."
Brian stroked deep and slow while he fondled Lanny's cock. "Oh shit, Lanny. I am about to cum."
"Go ahead. Don't pull out. Shoot inside me. I promise not to get pregnant."
With that encouragement, Brian let go and spilled himself in Lanny's gut, feeling the hot semen rip out of his cock, feeling like his belly was caving in. He looked at Lanny's smiling face and emptied himself inside. "Arrghh! Oh my God!"
Lanny was stroking himself as he watched the rapt expression on Brian's face. "I'm going to shoot," he said breathlessly.
"No. Let me have it," Brian leaned over and took Lanny in his mouth, rolling his balls in his hand and pushing his face into his pubes. He deep throated his cock and worked it with his tongue, sucking out Lanny's load while he swallowed, his throat squeezing and pulling the sperm out of his cock.
Lanny closed his eyes tight and his mouth gaped open and he emptied himself into his lover's throat. Brian choked and coughed a bit but swallowed it all.
Brian rolled over his back so that both of them were lying in the warm sun. After a minute, Lanny sighed and said, "What a beautiful place to make love in the sunshine. Here is another thing I don't think we'll ever forget."
"We need to get back before Roth comes looking for us," Brian suggested.
They dressed and walked back to find Roth stretched out under a tall pine with his cap over his eyes. "Hello Roth!" Lanny called to him.
Roth pushed his cap back with a smile. "Hello hikers. Are we ready to continue our adventure?"
They hiked through more forest, passing signs of small villages that were no longer inhabited. Stopping only to admire the view and drink more spring water, they came to a clearing which looked over Haidmühle and a place to camp for the night.
"There is no hut at this place so we can use your tent again. Can you find more good things for us in the forest?" Roth asked Brian.
"I will try. Maybe I can find something more interesting than bitter clover this time."
"You guys go ahead and see what you can forage," Lanny told them. "I can set up the tent by myself."
Armed with Brian's book of edible plants, he and Roth walked out to see what they could find. "There is a section on mushrooms," Brian told him. "I wish we could find some nice ones."
"I don't know about mushrooms," Roth admitted. "Maybe we will poison ourselves."
"According to the book, there are ways to be sure about them. I won't pick anything unless I'm sure it is safe to eat. Let's pick some."
They looked around the edge of the forest where there were some Oak trees before the woods gave way to tall pines.
"My book says that mushrooms growing around and on Oaks are good candidates," Brian said, looking from the book to the ground as he searched. They found some pretty white mushrooms looking like little umbrellas.
"What about those?" Roth asked. "They look pretty."
"They do, but the book warns that some are good and some are poisonous. I don't know enough about them to be sure they're safe. Let's keep looking." Brian found an Oak tree which had partially fallen and inspected the broken trunk. "Oh! Look here!"
They saw a funny looking ball shaped thing growing out from a crack in the bark. It was big as a grapefruit and was made of colorful layers. "Listen to this," Brian read from his book. "The upper surface of the Chicken Mushroom or Sulphur Shelf is deep orange, and the lower surface is a bright yellow."
"So is this a chicken?" Roth asked.
"I think so. It looks just like the picture. It warns you that a lot depends on what kind of tree they grow on. If it is on a hemlock it's not safe, but on an Oak it's good. It's supposed to be delicious. I think this one is OK."
Roth laughed, "We will find out after we try it."
Brian carefully cut several away from the tree and dropped them in a zip-lock bag. "Look around. We might find something else."
After a few minutes, Roth called to him from a leafy area under the Oaks. "What is this one?"
Brian took a look and saw a cluster of what appeared to be gray morning glory flowers growing up out of the leaves. "They look like little funnels," he said, and looked for a picture in his book. "Oh! Here it is. That's a Black Trumpet mushroom. It's supposed to smell good."
They got down on hands and knees and sniffed. "It does smell nice. Is it good to eat?" Roth asked.
"According to the book it's excellent, and it says nothing else looks quite like it. I think these are good. Lets pick some," Brian decided.
They looked around for a few more minutes and picked enough to fill their bag to the brim, then decided that they had enough. "I see more mushrooms, but these are the only ones I am confident enough to try," Brian said. "Let's go back and check on Lanny."
When they found Lanny, he had set up the tent, rolled out the sleeping bags, and was sitting under a tree looking bored. "Where have you guys been? I was about to come looking for you."
"We found some really neat mushrooms," Brian told him with excitement.
"Mushrooms? Some of those things can kill you. Are you serious?"
"No, really!" Brian tried to assure him. "Look at the pictures in my book. These are safe and should be delicious."
Lanny compared the fungi with the photos, read the text carefully and was reluctantly reassured. "I see what you mean, but still...."
"Honestly, Lanny. I wouldn't try these if I weren't sure they are safe. I'll eat them first if it will make you feel any better."
Lanny laughed, "So what are we supposed to do? Sit around and wait to see if you drop dead? How long do we have to wait?"
Roth was amused by this. "I will try them. If we die, we will all die together. I won't mind dying if I am with my good friends. But I trust Brian. I think they will be safe. Now I am curious to taste them. I have eaten wild mushrooms before that were quite delicious."
"Right. How about a little confidence in your Eagle Scout." Brian pretended to be indignant. "We have some butter in a tin. Let's wash these good then slice them up and sauté them in butter with a little salt. If I can find some wild onions that would be even better."
"Are we just going to eat mushrooms for our supper?" Lanny asked. "I am hungrier than that."
"One of our freeze-dried meals is a nice beef stew," Roth suggested. "That would be nice with mushrooms."
"Right. Here. Smell these black trumpets." Brian opened the bag and held it out for Lanny to sniff.
Lanny hesitated, sniffed, considered the odor for a moment, then sniffed again. "That does smell nice. Maybe it won't kill us."
"OK then," Brian considered the matter settled. "Let's get the stew cooking and then we can do the mushrooms. Do you have another thing to cook them in Roth?"
"Ah yes. There is a little frying pan with my cook set. We can use it. And there is some powdered lemonade. That will be nice. I think this will be a feast. Don't you think so?"
Lanny was not totally convinced, but laughed and shrugged. "I guess I will die in good company. I'm game."
With no further delay, Roth lit his gas stove and started heating water for the stew. Brian cut and washed his mushrooms while Lanny mixed the lemonade. It was a team effort. When the water was boiling the package of stew was stirred and left to sit while Brian used the stove to melt some butter in the pan and added the mushrooms. The smell was very appealing.
"I think everything is ready," Brian announced. "Shall we dine?"
They sat in a circle and dished their plates with Beef stew and wild mushrooms. Even Lanny had to admit that it was delicious. "These are pretty good, actually. Is there more?"
When they had cleaned everything up they sat back and looked at each other. "Which of us will be the first to die?" Lanny wondered.
"Well, I feel great," Brian grinned. "I'll die happy."
"I feel fine," Roth agreed. "I think we are safe enough. This was delicious."
"I do too," Lanny admitted. "I should have more confidence in you Brian. This was pretty cool."
They sat and talked about what they had seen during the day's hike and felt no ill effects. When it got dark they listened to the sounds of the forest; crickets chirping, birds tweeting and frogs serenading their sweethearts – then agreed that it was time for sleep so they could get an early start the next day.
With full stomachs and in good spirits, they slept soundly until they were awakened during the night by a sharp clap of thunder. The wind was whistling through the trees and the walls of the tent were flapping. Then the sound of rain came; first in the trees above them, then on the rain-fly of Brian's tent.
"I hope you staked the tent down securely," Brian fretted.
"I did for sure. I hope your tent doesn't leak, Lanny replied.
"We will soon find out," Roth laughed. "It is raining hard now."
The three hikers lay side by side in the little tent, listening to the rain pounding on the tent above them. While the tent didn't leak, they could feel the water running across the ground beneath them. While they didn't actually float, it was enough to concern them.
"Is everything in the tent?" Brian asked.
"Everything but the cooking utensils," Lanny told him. I left them out to dry last night."
Roth laughed, "They will not be dry, but well rinsed I think."
"I hope this doesn't blow us away," Lanny said in a worried tone.
"I don't think it will. The forest will slow down the wind a little. We're OK," Brian assured him.
"Yes. I think we are safe," Roth agreed. "If we get wet it will not kill us. If we can survive Brian's mushrooms, we can survive the rain."
"Now that you mention the mushrooms, I feel fine. I think those were OK," Lanny admitted.
There was a tremendous flash of light followed very quickly by a deafening clap of thunder. "That was close," Brian cautioned. They lay still and listened as the thunder echoed and reverberated from the mountainsides.
"This is cool," Brian laughed.
"It doesn't scare you?" Lanny asked.
"Not at all. I think it's cool to be dry here in the tent when on the other side of a piece of nylon it is pouring down rain," Brian said. "It's like we are in a cocoon or something."
"Yes. I like this. I love the rain," Roth agreed.
"I'm sorry," Lanny apologized. "I guess I'm being a wimp. I can't be afraid with you guys here with me. You're right. This is pretty neat."
The rain eased and they listened to the wind in the trees. The sound of thunder grew more distant until they found themselves waking up with a soft green light pouring through the tent.
"I think we're still alive," Brian announced. "Let's get up and look around."
The tent was still secure. They found the cooking utensils and plates not far away, and all was well.
"We need to dry this tent out as best we can," Brian told them. "It's pretty wet. If we shake the water out of it, it will be kind of heavy, but we can lay it out to dry later."
They repacked things as best they could and were off up the trail again. The rain had stopped but the skies were still overcast. Each had packed a light rain parka and wore those just in case it started again.
"Where was that nice sunshine we had yesterday?" Lanny wondered.
"The weather in the mountains is not predictable," Roth shook his head.
"It sounds like Oklahoma," Brian laughed.
The trail was wet and muddy in places from the rain and progress was slower today. They kept up a lively chatter and made the best of things. They hiked up to the steep summit of the Dreisessel where they were rewarded with a great view. The scene below was partially obscured by the clouds that lay below them. They decided it was a good place to have some lunch and took out jerky and granola bars.
"It's almost like being in an airplane," Brian said. "We are above the clouds."
"Yes, but there are more clouds above us," Roth pointed up. "I fear we will have more rain today."
"I really don't care," Lanny said. "I'm having fun. This is a real adventure."
"I've hiked and camped in worse weather than this," Brian told them a story. "We helped this guy Danny with his Eagle project one time. He wanted to make a trail into a wooded area and clear out some camp sites not far from town. We pitched our tents in one of the sites and went to bed. During the night it rained cats and dogs and we realized that we were in a low place. When we got up the whole area was in eight inches of water. The food box was floating and everything was soaked. We had to hike out with nothing to eat. Talk about miserable!"
"I thought Boy Scouts were always prepared," Roth laughed.
"Not that time. We made Danny buy our breakfast."
"So we are not so bad ourselves," Roth chuckled.
They packed up what little trash they had made and started off again. Now the trail started downhill for a section and was very rocky. The rain made the footing difficult and they were glad for the walking sticks that Roth had provided. Before long, the sky grew darker and it began to rain again.
"It would be nice to get out of this," Brian complained.
The trail curved around and they could see that there was an outcropping in the hillside just below them. "If we were under that, we could wait for the rain to stop," Roth suggested. "It is just below us. Can we get under there?"
"It's not that far," Brian said. "It might lead into a cave. I think that's a good idea."
They started down towards the place Roth pointed out and found that the rain was running across the trail making it difficult to cross.
"Be careful Lanny. It is kind of steep here," Brian said. "Take my right hand and step across. There is a little tree just on the other side for you to grab onto with your left."
Lanny adjusted his pack, took Brian's hand and took a long step to cross the water. When he did, he pulled Brian off balance. Brian stumbled and tried to jump across but his feet slipped out from under him and he fell forward and began to slide down the steep incline. The weight of his pack pulled him downward and he was very near the edge of the embankment.
"Hang on!" Lanny cried and held Brian's hand tightly, throwing himself back in an attempt to keep him from falling down the steep slope.
Brian scrambled and tried to find a foothold but the ground beneath him was slick with rain. Lanny held Brian with one hand and with the other kept a grip on the little tree. When Brian finally stopped sliding, his feet were hanging over a sharp drop off and he had kicked a shower of loose stones to fall rattling down the hill.
"Hold on! I've got you," Lanny shouted while Roth looked on with alarm.
"Don't let go!" Roth called and threw down his pack to jump across to assist them. He lowered his stick to Brian, "Take my stick with your other hand and we'll pull you up!"
Brian managed to grab Roth's stick and between the two of them, Lanny and Roth were able to pull Brian up to solid ground. As he clamored up, Lanny took him in his arms and fell backward with him. They lay there panting and trying to catch their breath.
"Are you alright?" Roth asked with concern, and he lay down on the other side of Lanny so that he was between him and Brian.
"I think so," Brian gasped, looking down at Lanny. "Are you OK? I nearly pulled your arm out of its socket."
Lanny had trouble catching his breath. "I'm not sure. Just give me a minute."
Roth looked very concerned and asked Lanny, "Can you raise your arms?"
Lanny's face was contorted, "I think so," he said, but when he tried, he found that he had badly wrenched his left shoulder. "When you fell, it kind of jerked me around."
"If you hadn't held onto me, I would be at the bottom of the slope now. Maybe even farther," Brian told him. "I think you saved my life Lanny."
"No. I just held your hand is all. What else could I do?"
"I outweigh you by forty pounds, and my pack is pretty heavy. When I fell, I was really moving. How could you hold onto me? I didn't know you were that strong."
Lanny tried to smile. "I couldn't let go of you."
Suddenly, Brian remembered the dream that he had made into a story, and a cold chill came over him. "Did I ever tell you about the story I wrote for my composition class?"
Lanny looked puzzled. "Your composition class? That's a crazy thing to ask. No, of course not. What makes you ask that?"
"Because I had this dream that I fell and you saved me. I saw this in a dream. I made a story out of it for class. I dreamed this, but I never imagined that it would really happen."
Lanny looked at Brian with disbelief. "That's kind of creepy."
"You had a dream that this thing would happen?" Roth asked.
"I did. It wasn't exactly like this, but we were hiking, Lanny. I didn't realize it was you. That was before we ever thought about hiking together, but there was rain, and we were trying to get down to a crevice and I fell, and you caught me, and...."
Brian found himself in tears and hugged Lanny tightly. "You saved me, just like in my dream."
Roth shook his head, not knowing what to make of all this. "We should get back up to level ground. Can you walk? Can both of you climb back up?"
"I'm alright," Brian said. "I'm a little skinned up but I'm fine."
Brian got to his feet, dropped his pack to the ground and bent over to help Lanny up. "What about you? Can you stand up?"
"I - I think so," Lanny said in a shaky voice. With Roth and Brian's help he managed to get to his feet. When Roth lifted him by his left arm, he cried out in pain. "Ow, my shoulder! Easy with that."
"We can get you out of this place," Roth assured him. He planted his walking stick in the center of the little stream and carefully stepped across. Then he handed one end of the stick back across to Brian. "Let us hold the stick steady so Lanny can use it to hold onto. Now see if you can step across, Lanny."
Lanny started to try and pick up his pack but Brian told him, "Don't worry about that. We will get that for you. Just hold onto the stick and step across."
Brian grabbed Lanny's jacket and held on, while Lanny used his right hand to hold onto the stick and step across. On the other side, Roth grabbed him and pulled him over. "I have you," Roth said calmly. "Sit down here and I will help your friend."
Lanny sat and watched while Roth held onto the stick and used it to pull Brian across. The little stream was even wider now as the water from the hill above them filled it.
"There is a level place just above us," Roth told them. "Let us hold hands as we climb the hill."
"But our packs are down there," Lanny said. "What about our packs?"
"They will stay there," Roth said. "We can come for them later when the rain stops. And if they are lost, we can get others. I cannot replace my American friends. Let us go up."
They made their way hand in hand until they found themselves in a flat place. Once there, Roth had them sit together while he made a little shelter from a plastic sheet that was folded in his pack. It was not much, but it gave them some protection from the rain.
Now that the excitement was past, Lanny began to shiver. "I think he might be hurt worse than we realized," Brian said to Roth. "We need to keep him warm. I'm thinking he might go into shock or something."
"Yes. I think you're right. He is very cold in any case. I would set up the tent, but I'm afraid that the tent is in your pack. I have my pack. We can use the plastic sheet and my sleeping bag to keep him warm."
"He's soaking wet," Brian said. "I think we need to get him out of those wet clothes. He will get warm quicker that way."
Lanny made no comment but sat between them shivering violently. Roth laid the sheet down and put his sleeping bag on it while Brian removed Lanny's wet clothes. They eased him into the bag, then lay down on each side of him and pulled the rest of the plastic sheet over themselves.
"Now would be a good time for all three of us to be in Fredrick's double bag, don't you think so?" Roth chuckled.
"I think that would be great," Brian agreed with a grimace. "I'm afraid that he has really hurt himself. Maybe it's just a sprain, but there isn't much we can do right now. The important thing is to keep him warm. We all need to keep warm for that matter."
"Yes of course. I think we should rest now. The tent would be better, but this is better than nothing. We should stay like we are until the rain stops. Then we can decide what to do next." Roth was quiet for minute. "Oh. My heart is still pounding. I was afraid that you were falling so far below. I did not think that Lanny could hold you."
"It happened so fast. It was just like in my dream."
"You dreamed of this? How can that be?"
"I don't understand it," Brian said. It was last summer when I was taking this class in writing. I had to come up with a short story and I was stuck for ideas. I sort of dozed off and had this dream. Maybe it was a daydream, you know? But I was hiking with this guy. I didn't think of Lanny at the time, but that's who it was. We got caught in the rain and were trying to get under a crevice and I fell. I fell and Lanny held onto me."
"Did you tell Lanny about this story?"
"No. I wrote it up and got a grade out of it, but I never said anything about it to Lanny. I kind of knew him in high school, but it was only last summer that we became friends. He had already planned this trip to Europe and asked if I would like to come along. We have really become close friends on this trip. I never talked to him about that story – about my dream."
"That is very strange," Roth said quietly. "Maybe an angel told you that story."
"An angel? Really? Do you believe in that sort of thing?"
"I don't know if I do or not. My grandmother would say that kind of thing. She believes in such things. I don't believe so much, but your dream makes me wonder. Maybe such things happen. Do you think so?"
Brian was silent for a time. "I don't know what to think about it. If it's a coincidence, it's a very strange coincidence. I don't know. Maybe an angel gave me that story."
They lay with their arms over Lanny in his sleeping bag. He was sound asleep. The rain continued to patter down on their makeshift shelter. Finally, Roth said softly. "I think we should sleep if we can. It is going to be dark soon and we must sleep. Good night my friend."
"Good night," Brian replied. "Thank you for your cool head. You aren't really crazy at all."
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